Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let's bake bread! (The dark side of frugality)

If kings and queens had a following as loyal as bread baking enthusiasts are to their craft, we'd be a monarchy right now.   How can you blame them?  Really, there's nothing better than home baked bread.  Carbs and I go way back, and I'm not going to mess with that kinship now.  Save the comments;  I know it's good!

The question for today is this:  is it frugal?   

History seems to show it can be frugal.  We know that because civilizations through the ages have relied on bread as a staple.  I'm making an assumption because the lowest worker on the totem pole made some form of bread - and you'd guess he didn't have much, money.  I'd like to put a bread history reference here for you, but I'd have to review all the websites on bread to be fair and balanced,  having typed the terms "history of bread" into the Google search engine and came up with 162,000,000 options.   For today, I'm choosing unfair and opinionated.

In modern times, bread purchased at the grocery costs between .99-3.99 (USD), depending on the type.  Run of the mill white bread can be cheap, while Artisan breads will be more.

Everyone I know who starts making bread starts out very excited and muses about the health benefits and cost savings.  And then they get out that credit card to get "necessities".  It's not how grandma made bread anymore.  I've seen this a happen over and over.

Let's do the math, shall we?

Lazy Mom who (I'm told) doesn't care what about her family's health (i.e., drives to the store):
Middle of the road wheat bread  $2.99
Number of loaves per year (2 per week): 104
104 x 2.99 =   Total cost of  $310.96

Informed, Healthy Mom who actually cares for her family (bakes her own bread):
Ankarsrum Original Kitchen Machine Matte Black Mixer w/FREE Shipping   $799
Wondermill Grain Mill w/FREE Shipping  $299
Wheat Hard Red 45lbs. 6 gal. Bucket - 2.5 buckets x $39.95 per bucket  ($99.88)
Lets just say you have the sugar, yeast and pans laying around.  
Total cost of 104 loaves approximately  $1197.88
And if this is enough to make 104 loaves,  your bread cost $11.51 a loaf.

Bread...delicious?  Oh, yeah.  Frugal?  Not always; especially when you are under the impression that you need all this hardware before you even start.  You can just buy bread flour, yeast, sugar, oil and salt, peeps.  How did something so simple get so expensive?   When is spending more a path to frugality?

I could further fantasy frugalize this if I buy the .99 loaf all year, and I'd still be able to hire a band to play for me  with the money I'd save while I appreciatively and eat my sandwich.

Stop right want to say, "but you can't put a price on your health..."   Sure you can.  Didn't you see my nifty highlights?

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Love, Cherdo